Mini Mission Monday ~ 17Aug2015

mini-logoMini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

After being away interstate celebrating a family occasion and catching up when getting home, I haven’t had much thought for decluttering. Except the usual crafting in the seemingly never ending bid to reduce my craft supplies. It is a labour of love.

I must apologise also for not being present in the conversation going on in the comments section of the blog posts. Same reason as above. Hopefully life will settle back into a rhythm for a little while again.

So what shall we focus on decluttering in the mini missions this week. Lets go with what things are made of.

Monday – Declutter something made from paper.

Tuesday – Declutter something made from wood.

Wednesday – Declutter something made from fabric.

Thursday – Declutter something plastic.

Friday - Declutter something made from an animal product eg. leather, bone, wool…

Saturday – Declutter something metal. That could also be precious metal.

Sunday - Sunday is reserved for contemplating one particular item, of your choice that is proving difficult for you to declutter. Whether that be for sentimental reasons, practical reasons, because the task is laborious or simply unpleasant, or because the items removal requires the cooperation of another person. That last category may mean that the item belongs to someone else who has to give their approval, it could also mean there is a joint decision to be made or it could mean that the task of removing it requires assistance from someone else. There is no need to act on this contemplation immediately, it is more about formulating a plan to act upon or simply making a decision one way or another.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Eco Tip for the Day

Most people have digital cameras these days but some still think “old school” when it comes to printing and insist on hardcopies of everything. Why not save paper and ink and only get the photos printed that you intend to display. Even sending copies to family and friends can be done digitally. No need for waste there either.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Hi Colleen,

    Around the beginning of August, I got through with my organizing of “Box Mountain” into categories (toiletry, jewelry, belts & purses, kitchen, books, Barbies, toys, baby clothes, daughter clothes, bedding, paperwork, sewing, craft, sentimental). Most of these categories had more than one bag or tub full! Since that phase of the project, my daughter has been (at my insistence) going through a bag or box most nights. She has so far parted with a few bags of clothing, 4 bags of books, a cat carrier and some other cat gear… We are going to go through the “kitchen” stuff tonight. I am so pleased, because I know it is hard for her to part with things. She has surprised me! I think we may have hit a few of your MMM categories 🙂

    • Good for you Peggy. Sometimes the hardest part is getting your offspring to comply with your wishes. After that they often surprise you. I am glad you are now making inroads into those boxes. Well done to both of you.

    • Sounds like you have hit on the answer, Peggy. Good job.

  2. Welcome back Colleen!
    Mon-paper……stack of magazines
    Tuesday-wood…..making s’mores, will use up a stack of wood doing that
    Wed-fabric…..the shirt I have on today needs to go, it slips off my shoulders
    Thu-plastic……store hangers
    Fri-animal products &Sat-metal….Will have to think about these two days.
    Good mini missions again.

    • Thank you Calla and that is a good list you have there already. I should have been keeping an eye out for all of the mission while doing the house cleaning this morning. Instead I will endeavour to design a greeting card today the incorporates all of those elements. If I then make a batch of six or eight of them I will have achieved all the missions and cleans some stuff out of my craft supplies. Ooo I like the sound of this challenge.

    • Good list Calla.

  3. I should say, the wood will be used to make a camp fire.
    I was thinking it, just didn’t type it

    • I should have known that Calla, but had indoors in my head and though you were referring to long skewers to cook the marshmallows on. The camp fire will use up a whole lot more wood than that. I only wish I could join in the fun.

  4. Welcome back Colleen! Over the weekend I did some decluttering and sorting work in my entertainment centre – random cables seem to be on the rise again and I’m going to do a re-visit of the cook books and organise the photocopied recipes and hand written ones. So that should cover paper and plastic.

    Metal – a cookie tray was destroyed in a bbq fire, my husband keeps saying he’ll clean it up but it is warped and I have made the call that it is going in the bin.

    I’ll have to give some thought to fabric, animal and wood. I put a cd in a ‘safe place’ over the weekend but unfortunately it wasn’t where I thought it should be this morning and its got me scratching my head. My daughter (who needs the cd) says that there really aren’t that many places to lose something in our house. I shall go on a rampage of search and declutter this evening.

    • Thanks Moni. Yes those darn cables seem to be multiplying in our house too. Good luck with the animal mission and with your search for the CD that has gone walkabout.

      • Colleen – the only animal thing I can think of is a bottle of cat anxiety medicine – we have a very skitish cat that the vet diagnosed as having anxiety, prescribed the cat equivalent of Prozac, but we can’t get her to take it as it causes her a lot of anxiety when we try to get the tablet down her throat. I haven’t really known how to proceed with this problem.

        • Moni, ask the vet if there is a liquid form of the med or if he can suggest a way to better get it down the cat. Maybe it can be cut into 1/4 ths and put in food or ground up and put in food.

          • Deb J – we tried hiding it in her food, but she wasn’t fooled and when we ground it up she refused to eat it. I tried explaining to her but she didn’t seem interested in what I was saying.
            My hubby and I were just discussing how all the kids are starting to leave home, but leaving their pets behind………..

          • Moni, guess you need to ask the Vet.

          • Good advice Deb.

          • Moni, don’t you love it when the kids do that. Fortunately we didn’t allow pets after having to give two dogs away when we were sent to the USA. They soon got their own when they left home though.
            I am sorry your cat won’t listen to you the suborn little minx. lol

    • Moni, I hope you are able to find the CD and a few other things on your rampage.

      • Deb J & Colleen – yes it was hiding in plain sight. It was a gold colour disc in a clear plastic sleeve sitting on the wood grain and although it wasn’t a perfect colour match, there wasn’t much contrast. Of course, I didn’t realise this until after I’d pulled everything out of the desk drawers and made a big mess on the ground. On the glass-half-full side of things, I have had my beady eye on the desk drawers for sometime.

        And even better I had a lightbulb moment and am setting myself a new challenge, or maybe a new experiment!

  5. Ooh, I love the what things are made of missions! 😀
    I am expanding the wood one slightly, to leaves, and decluttering some tea that has been sitting about for far too many years.
    Fabric should be straightforward, I always seem to have something where the elastic has rotted or the material has lost its stretch and gone a wonky shape, or something white has turned irreversibly yellow.
    Thursday’s may well be multiple plastic things, I’m not fond of how much plastic I still have in my home.

    • I thoroughly agree, tea leaves are close enough to wood. And yes it is never to hard to fine something plastic. Good luck with the mini missions Amelia.

    • Oh the plastics, Amelia. I would so love to dump all the plastic containers we have and use. I plan to find ways to “lose” them once we split them up to share when we move. I will then buy glass ones over time.

  6. We had a big declutter this weekend, but I think the only mini missions we hit so far are plastic and metal. We gave our neighbor my old (2003) PC, along with the monitor, keyboard, a separate sound system, and our older all-in-one printer/copier/scanner/fax. Got lots of stuff out of my office. Of course, I deleted My Documents and cleared Internet Options which included history, passwords, cookies, etc. and then…ahem…forgot to empty Recycle Bin and check to be sure there were no discs in the 2 DVD drives. Just texted him and he assured me that he’s already dumped the memory and recycle bin and will check the drives. Yay! Oh, also gave him DH’s old laptop.

    That leaves us with 2 laptops, 2 iPads and our Envy printer…exactly what we use.

    • Way to go getting rid of all the computer and printer stuff. I know you feel better having it gone.

      • Actually, Deb J, I don’t feel better yet, but I’m getting there. Felt kind of down the next day, then realized that there is much more to be done in that room. I have now removed about 10 framed family photos from the top of my roll top desk. I prefer digital pics rather than a lot of pics sitting about. I’ll probably scan or take pics of these. I’ve also pulled out 3 large stacks of file folders that DH agrees we can now destroy…however, they’re not out of that room yet, so it looks more cluttered than before. I have another desk top to clear off, and I need to tackle the rest of the roll top drawers. I’ve already made 2 passes through the office closet…more to come.

        • Don’t let each new item you declutter not bring the feeling of accomplishment. Each bite out of the pie is to be celebrated. Don’t let what is left to be done keep you from seeing what is behind.

    • Well done deanna. Redundancy is a real problem when it comes to computer equipment.

    • Continued:
      Monday – paper: old telephone directory

      Tuesday – wood: I broke up a set!!! ( I just read about sets yesterday in your archives, Colleen.) – oak shelves that came out of my roll top desk. I don’t want them there since we took out the computer tower because I want to be able to easily access the surge protector and the cords in the back.

      Wednesday – old sports bras, socks and hosiery

      Friday – animal product eg. leather, bone, wool – nothing yet (but then it’s not Friday yet)

  7. My daughter gave up 2 boxes worth of kitchen items! From 2 tubs & 3 crates of kitchen stuff, she is down to one tub kept!!! I am totally okay with that 🙂

    I think I will ask her to look at toys next because there are many items that her children do not show any interest in…

  8. Your categories reminded me of wedding annversaries -1 is paper, 25 is silver, etc.
    In Sept, around the equinox, I suggest your clever mind comes up with categories around the sun & moon, or getting rid of former season or upcoming season decorative items. You’ll do better than my suggestions.

    • That sounds like a fun idea Gail.
      I also had a mini mission idea, maybe Colleen you could do a bit like they used to do on Sesame Street (well maybe they still do but I haven’t watched it in a few decades!) – this week’s mini missions are brought to you by the letter ‘P’ (eg) – Past, Pretty, Preowned, Past It (aka Expired), Perishable, Packaging, Pink/Purple etc 🙂

    • Good idea Gail.
      Amelia, our good friend and reader Nicole V has a similar idea regarding an alphabet theme. Which reminds me I need to find her last email and respond to her on this.

  9. My week will be as follows: Monday, Monday, Monday, Monday…. I’m going stir crazy in this little tin box waiting til the new house is ready. Most of the decluttering I’ve accomplished over the summer has been in the use-it-up category but I also brought along give-away books to read and files to scan/shred/recycle. Paper, paper, paper. Where does it all come from…

    • Wendy B, It sounds like you are not only going stir crazy but paper clutter crazy. It seems no matter what I do the paper comes back. We no longer buy books or magazines. I try to dump the grocery ads as soon as they come. No matter what I do though we get things in envelopes that have to be dumped, and many places still send paper bills, etc. I keep trying to get everything changed to digitial bills, statements, etc. but it is a struggle. Good luck with all your paper.

      • Deb J – last night I was entertaining myself while I was cleaning up the kitchen, by listing things that ‘breed’ – electronic cables, plasticware, papers……….

    • Hi Wendy B, sorry to hear about your paper clutter situation. I know I get infuriated when I check my mailbox with its “No Junk Mail” sign only to find junk mail in it. I used to phone the companies etc who were responsible for the advertising but I am not sure it did much good. Now I just put the stuff straight into the recycling bin. It helped that we moved out of the country and then back again and don’t give our information to anyone we don’t have to. All other stuff we have under control unless of course you include my crafting paper but I am slowly working my way through that.
      Keep working at it and only keep what you really have too.

  10. Further up the page I was discussing with Deb J that I had a lightbulb moment yesterday while having a big clean out of the office desk drawers. I’ll just back up a little and explain that once the PC dies, we won’t be replacing it, we will stick with iPads and laptops – as an aspiring empty nester, I want to keep it compact and mobile.

    Anyway, I have been toying with the idea that I won’t need the drawer unit but what to do with the stationery / office supplies. I straight away thought about a toolbox or some sort of container but I didn’t want to buy a storage solution until I had a better idea of what I actually needed to store!

    I googled minimalist office supplies and I read a post by Miss Minimalist and it was actually in the comments that I had my lightbulb moment. One of her readers didn’t have a stapler, paper clips and many of the other requisite office supplies. This reader also used a copy shop to print – (much like what Deb J will have available to her when she moves.)

    The next question was how would I know what I have and haven’t used? I recalled Ryan Nicodemus’ story of how he packed up his house and only retrieved items as he needed them. I remembered the wardrobe decluttering idea of reversing all the hangers and as clothes are worn are returned on hangers the correct way and at the end of six months everything still on a reversed coathanger gets donated. How do I adapt this idea to office supplies?

    I thought about putting all the office supplies in a different room and monitor the return migration. Or I could put a small post-it tag sticker thing (I have a packet that came free with post-it notes) on each of the items and remove the tag as they get used.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    I think it would be interested to see what actually does get used in a home office situation.

    • Moni, I think you have a good idea of getting things out of the way somewhere and then seeing how much of it you actually use. I think I would put everything in another room and then see what you actually bring back into those drawers. I would use the easiest method for you to do this.

      • Deb J – The students in the household weren’t happy to play Hide & Seek with office bits and pieces. I’ve taken a look and realised the staple remover actually belongs to work, the label maker has a cartridge for iron-on name labels that I haven’t needed for years, do I actually use paperclips or do I staple? And I wont mention the duplicate items. Yes I will….. two staplers, four protractors. Is the unopened ball of string better suited to be in the Survival Kit? Do I use a hole punch at home? Do we use the calculator, or do we use the one on the computer keyboard or the ones on our smart phones instead? The dictionary had a coat of dust on it, I think that’s a clear indication that we use spell check and google as a dictionary.

        I refuse to give up my label maker though.

        • Hi Moni, it seems like you are working this out for yourself with a little deep thought. Perhaps what might help is to limit the number of each item that comes in multiples,ei paperclips…that you suspect might be still used. Say a half a dozen paperclips etc and see if the number dwindle. Remove the items that you are sure aren’t being use and the kids will have to come to you to find out where they are. Leave one of all other items in the usual places but photograph the spaces so you can monitor if they are being disturbed. Sounds like a lot of bother but might also be a bit of fun playing detective.

          • Colleen – as we don’t plan to replace the PC when it dies, I can forsee that the office desk and drawers will be surplus around the same time. So I began to think about how office supplies would be stored, I was itching to go out and buy a ‘solution’ but a Yoda type voice in my head kept telling me to find out exactly what I had first and once it was all laid out I began to realise there were a lot of items which were duplicate or probably not used. I think because office supplies are such small items that I took for granted that they didn’t take up a lot of room in the desk drawers.

        • Moni, it sounds like things are getting worked out slowly. I can understand your kids not wanting to have to do without something or have it where it isn’t easy to find.

    • Maybe you could box up all but a small amount of each thing. So all of the spares and most of the multiples would be boxed up. Make a list of what you left in the desk. Then put the list in the box and put the box in a closet for 6 months. That should give you a good feel for which things actually get used / misplaced, because those will be the ones missing at the end of the time. And for the 6 month experiment, the desk area will be super decluttered, so your family can get a feel for what it would be like living with only 5 pens.

      • Rebecca J – I’m actually keen to know what is not necessary, however on the other hand I have three students living in my house at the moment and so I don’t want to take away, say, the hole punch and then there is high drama because they can’t locate it. When I decluttered my kitchen Colleen encouraged me to put away single-use items which could be replaced with just a decent knife ie garlic crusher, apple corer etc etc. After a few months I realised I hadn’t missed the other items. So I’m wondering how many stationery items I have on hand, that possibly don’t ever get used at home that I have simply because I have them in my workplace.

    • Moni,

      I have lived in small apartments as well as a boat, none of which had an office. Here is what works for me for an office box. (Note that I keep a separate bill paying box.) My office box is for extra supplies.

      My office box is a decorative photo storage box. It’s about 8 inches across in the front, 11 inches long, and 4 inches high.

      The contents:
      – one box of pens
      – stapler
      – staple remover
      – box of staples
      – Scotch tape
      – one box of thank you notes
      – post it notes
      – two Sharpie markers
      – two rolls of label maker tape
      – label maker (hand-held Dymo size, not the larger Brother type)

      The contents fit neatly in the box, with a little room to spare. What I like about it is that it’s portable, decorative (if it needs to go on a bookshelf, for example), and small-yet-big-enough for the essentials. I don’t have kids, so my office box may not suit all of your needs, but even 2 or 3 of these boxes don’t come close to the space that a desk takes up. Hope this helps! 🙂

      • Melanie, I like you box idea. I’m going to be doing something similar when I move. Mine will be a small set of drawers that are a little bit smaller except for the heighth as there are 3 drawers. That will hold my office supplies & few craft tools. I will then also use a photo box like you are using to hold my greeting cards and regular envelopes. I am excited about being able to consolidate what I have.

        • Those small drawers are the perfect size for office supplies, Deb J! I know just the type you are talking about. Good luck with your move….I hope it will be soon. 🙂

      • Melanie – that’s pretty well what I’m hoping to get down to. My husband is a bit baffled why I love my label maker, ironically he is a signwriter so you’d think he’d appreciate the concept on principal. He’s decided its a ‘chick thing’ as all my friends love their label makers too.

        Recently I was debating whether or not to keep my wine charms, and after a number of suggestions from 365ers I hit on an excellent idea. I use my clear tape and slap a label with the person’s name on it on the base of the wine glass.

        • LOL, husbands are always baffled at what we do. Keep ’em guessing, I say. 😉 I like my label maker, too! It comes in handy when I need to, well, make a label. Hahaha.

          I remember the wine charm debate. I’m glad you found a solution! (I like it, by the way.) I use plastic cups now after having a glass shatter at a party. And I place one of the aforementioned Sharpie markers (that I keep in my office box) next to the cups so that my guests may write their names on their cups if they wish. LOL.

  11. For the mini missions I got rid of the following:
    Tue-wood……camp fire
    Wed- fabric….1 pair of white pants, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 shirt
    Thu-plastic….tote & store hangers
    Fri- animal product & Sat- metal….this is a stretch but a knit infinity scarf with silver flecks. It’s not wool, but heavy knit like wool. The “metal” flecks definitely are precious. Lol I gave a package of cheese away to daughter.

  12. Well, it is Wednesday night where I live, and I just 365’d something fabric before I even read the missions! Getting rid of the item made me realize that I haven’t checked in here in a few days……lo and behold, Wednesday is fabric. Spooky how that happens so often!

    I’ll be working on the other missions this week!